Mycologists have always been curious about the elaborate morphotypes and shapes of species of the genus Helvella. The small, black, cupulate Helvella specimens have mostly been assigned to Helvella corium, a broadly defined morpho-species. Recent phylogenetic analyses,
however, have revealed an aggregate of species hidden under this name. We performed a multispecies coalescent analysis to re-assess species limits and evolutionary relationships of the Helvella corium species aggregate in the Nordic countries. To achieve this, we used morphology and
phylogenetic evidence from five loci – heat shock protein 90 (hsp), translation elongation factor 1-alpha (tef), RNA polymerase II (rpb2), and the 5.8S and large subunit (LSU) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA. All specimens under the name Helvella corium in the
larger university fungaria of Norway, Sweden and Denmark were examined and barcoded, using partial hsp and/or rpb2 as the preferential secondary barcodes in Helvella. Additional fresh specimens were collected in three years (2015–2018) to obtain in vivo morphological
data to aid in species discrimination. The H. corium species aggregate consists of seven phylogenetically distinct species, nested in three divergent lineages, i.e. H. corium, H. alpina and H. pseudoalpina sp. nov. in the /alpina-corium lineage, H. alpestris, H. macrosperma
and H. nannfeldtii in the /alpestris-nannfeldtii lineage, and H. alpicola as a weakly supported sister to the /alpestris-nannfeldtii lineage. Among the seven species, the ribosomal loci expressed substantial variation in evolutionary rates, suggesting care in the use of these
regions alone in delimitation of Helvella species. Altogether, 469 out of 496 available fungarium specimens were successfully barcoded.
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Document Type: Abstract
June 1, 2020
This article was made available online on December 4, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "The Helvella corium species aggregate in Nordic countries – phylogeny and species delimitation".
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Fungal Systematics and Evolution is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, full colour, fast-track journal. Papers will include reviews, research articles, methodology papers, taxonomic monographs, and the description of fungi. The journal strongly supports good practice policies, and requires voucher specimens to be deposited in a fungarium, cultures in long-term genetic resource collection, sequences in GenBank, alignments in TreeBASE, and taxonomic novelties in MycoBank.
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